Here’s this week’s Stock Up/Stock Down report, which, as a reminder, you’ll notice is no longer found in the Monday Bracketology post.
Before we get into the stock outlook, let’s talk a little bit about conference tournaments. As we’re sitting here on February 24th, checking out projected brackets from around the web daily, if not hourly, I think we tend to forget the importance of conference tournaments. Not only do we forget the importance of bubble teams picking up big wins in these tournaments, which helps solidify their selection into The Big Dance. But even more importantly, we forget about the bids that get stolen. Bid aren’t just stolen from “mid-major” leagues, but also if a team outside of the bubble looking in picks up a few wins to find their way into the dance, a “power” conference tournament can have a major impact as well.
Take a look at the last three seasons to see bids that were stolen before Selection Sunday.
2013: Oregon and Ole Miss ended up stealing bids by winning their conference tournaments.
2012: St. Bonaventure’s stole a bid and based on where they ended up seeded as an 11-seed, it’s possible/likely that Colorado did as well.
2011: Memphis and Richmond were both given 12-seeds after winning their conference tournaments. It’s very likely these were two bid stealers as well.
That’s only the last three seasons, but just remember those teams when you’re checking out projected brackets in these last few weeks before Selection Sunday. This year, the Missouri Valley and Mountain West conference tournaments are flashing a “POTENTIAL BID STEALER” light in bright red right now. And (more…)
Wisconsin dropped their first game of the season Tuesday in a 75-72 loss in Assembly Hall to Indiana. Yogi Ferrell led the Hoosiers with 25 points, on a voluminous 10-24 from the field. Even with the inefficient performance, Indiana does not win this game without Ferrell. He overcame being benched by Tom Crean for a stretch in the 2nd half and had moments of greatness in that 2nd half to lead IU.
If you’re a Wisconsin fan, no need to worry about this loss too much. It’s frustrating, obviously, after having a 10-point lead at one point in the 2nd half, but no one was going to go undefeated through Big Ten play. And the fact still remains that the Badgers have a highly manageable Big Ten schedule compared to the rest of the title contenders in the conference’s unbalanced setup. The don’t travel to Ohio State or Michigan State and are actually favored to win every game but one (at Iowa on February 22) from here on out according to Kenpom.com. They should still be the favorite to win the regular season title.
Two quick notes on Indiana. Their fans rushed the court, I don’t care. If you do care enough to be bothered or annoyed by it, maybe re-evaluate things a little bit in life. These are (possibly drunk) college students who just saw their team get a big win and are excited about it. If they want to rush the court in that excitement, who am I to judge? College kids like to have fun. I personally support Mark Titus’ hope that we once have a school that rushes the court after every single win to mock all of these complaints.
Second, I’m not sure what this does for Indiana’s tourney chances. It’s obviously a big win that will help their resume, but what else do they have right now? They’ve lost to every other quality opponent they’ve played (unless you want to call Washington a quality opponent, which I don’t). They still have opportunities against Iowa and Ohio State at home and Michigan State and Wisconsin on the road. Can they go 2-2 in those games? Can they go 10-8 in the Big Ten? That would get them to 20-11 overall which would likely be enough to get in. We’ll see if they’ll be in this week’s bracket on Sunday night.
We’re reaching that point of the year where college basketball is reaching the national spotlight. College football is over, the NFL is winding down, and the NBA is in the dog days of January. With those factors combined with the start of conference play, it feels like this weekend had some added importance and interest. Here’s a rundown of some of the biggest storylines I took out of the weekend.
Big Win for Iowa:
Iowa headed into their game Sunday against Ohio State with a 13-3 record with road losses to undefeated Wisconsin and 1-loss Iowa State and a neutral court OT loss to 1-loss Villanova. All of those games were one possession games with 5 minutes or less to go in the 2nd half. So clearly, Iowa’s losses were very good losses that were close to being very good wins. They finally got that good win Sunday at #3 Ohio State.
Iowa was up 70-68 with 3:22 left, and it was shaping up to be another one of those close games that Iowa has struggled to win this year, as well as last year. Iowa closed the game on a 14-6 run to record one the best victories by any team in the nation yet this season. Iowa’s two best players, Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White, had highly effective and efficient games on Sunday. Marble had 22 points on 7-13 shooting from the field and 8-11 from the line, while White put up 19 points on 8-12 shooting. Iowa is known for its depth, they play 11 guys. But Marble and White are the key for this club and are two of the more underappreciated players in the nation. When they play like they did Sunday against Ohio State, Iowa is extremely tough to beat and will be a threat in March to make the Final 4.